Oh my goodness, these are good! This stuffed pepper dish comes from a stunning recipe book entitled The Heart of Sicily: Recipes and Reminiscences of Regaleali. The author traces the food of a country estate through the four seasons. (You might recognize the name Regaleali, as they produce wines occasionally available locally.) This book is much more than a collection of trusted recipes; in addition, the reader gets an insider’s narrative of the foodways that impact the entire life of the estate. The dishes are both rustic and regal and illustrate the many diverse influences upon not only the cuisine but the overall culture of this famed island. The simple color photographs capture the bounty of this idyllic Mediterranean land. Grab this book if you get a chance—it’s a journey in and of itself. And this dish in particular is a real keeper!
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Sauté 1 finely chopped medium red onion in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil until golden. Stir in 3/4 cup bread crumbs and cook 2-3 min. to toast. Add 1/2 cup minced parsley and 5 tbsp. each dried currants (soak in water if dry), olives (I like black oil-cured olives, but the choice is yours!), pine nuts, and capers.
2. Add 1/4 cup mix of freshly-squeezed lemon and orange juice—if too sour, add a bit of sugar. Now season filling with salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste and let cool.
3. Cut off the top of 4 large peppers just as you would when carving a pumpkin. I like an assortment—more exotic home-growns are best, but sweet red and yellow bell peppers and smoky poblanos add variety and are readily available. Remove inner seeds and membranes. Stuff with filling and fasten top on with a toothpick. Bake for 40-45 min. until soft. Serve warm or at room temperature.